Friday, January 29, 2010

Wine at the Castle

Last night was the first meeting of the newest wine club in Cork. Bubble Brothers called and the masses followed. Malene and Ben joined me with around 50 people attending the first meeting and the atmosphere was buzzing. The theme of the night was Champagne - mostly because BB imported the lovely bubbles first to Ireland. And who better to talk about Champagne than Valerie who just happens to be from the Champagne Region. We were treated to a movie about Champagne and Valerie added her fast knowledge to it.

The big numbers of guests were great news for BB but hard to times I was afraid Billy would smash the glass :-) - I think they don't need more members at this stage. Great success.

We then went into the Castle Restaurant and the bubbles started bubbling. We tried 6 different Champagnes - below are my humble notes on them.

Jean Claude Vallois, Assemblage Noble Brut (100% Chardonnay) €38

These grapes are manually pressed and only the first pressing of the juice is used to make the wine. Pale yellow, fresh fruit and slightly acid. Taste of pear, dry on the palate with a bit of fizz. This Champagne would go great with seafood. Price is great as well. Wouldn't be my favourite as it doesn't have the wow effect I love in Champagne.

Andre Clouet Silver Label Brut Zero (100% Pinot Noir) €41

This Champagne is made without any sugar added. Rich yellow colour. Smell reminded me of autumn with leaves and straw. This is a more mature and masculine wine. It has a long finish but I couldn't make up my mind at all. Malene loved this one tho.

J de Telmont Grande Reserve Brut (34% Pinot Noir, 33% Pinot Meunier, 33% Chardonnay) €40

Straw yellow colour with a fresh crisp bouquet. Slightly fizzy, wonderful dry finish, soft on the palate. Shouldn't be stored for long. I liked this one.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier (40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier) €48.50
Quite pale colour considering that the majority of the grapes are red. Couldn't really pin down the smell of the wine but it was almost buttery (if this makes sense). Quite disappointing in taste. Short finish, dry enough tho. Apparently this is a famous Champagne maker and the wine is stored for 3 years (15 months is the regulation), 40 different vintages are used - still for me nothing to write home about.

Gallimard Pere et Fils Brut Rose (100% Pinot Noir) €40

In short - summer in a glass, fresh, amazing and type of Champagne....I can see myself in summer sunshine in the garden having al fresco dinner with my friends and just enjoying life.....yeah...this one is on the list.

Andre Clouet Millesime 2003 (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay) €51.50

2003 was the hottest summer and the grapes had to be harvest in August rather than as usual in September. This Champagne is the grown up one. Goldish yellow colour, good acidity, honey and cream come to mind, long dry finish, smooth but still rich. Only 30,000 - 50,000 bottles are made each year.....well worth the price

Billy's knowledge of the wine makers, procedures and wine industry is amazing and we learned a lot at the night (at least who ever listened :-). We also received a tasting booklet that helps finding the right wording for reviews and explains the flavours very well. A brochure of Champagne gave us a great overview of the region.

Next month's meeting will cover the Langedoque region.

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